Tuesday 15 October 2019

Watch: World Rugby reveal plan for three-division 'Nations Championship' - with Pacific Island teams included

Johnny Sexton previously spoke out against the plan
Johnny Sexton previously spoke out against the plan

World Rugby have 'moved to clarify' the structure of the proposed Nations Championship, which would see northern and southern hemisphere teams compete in a tournament across the summer and autumn international windows.

A leaked proposal last week drew widespread oppositions from leading players, with concerns raised over the increased number of consecutive test matches and the omission of the Pacifc Island nations.

However, in a video released today, World Rugby have revealed that the Nations Championship will feature three divisions, with promotion and relegation allowing emerging countries the chance to compete with the best.

The top division will feature 12 teams, with the Six Nations sides competing in the northern hemisphere conference, and the Rugby Championship teams plus the two highest ranked southern hemisphere teams competing in the other conference.

Fiji and Japan would be included under the current world rankings.

Each side would play the five teams in their conference once, and the other six teams in the opposite conference once for 11 total regular season games.

From an Irish perspective, this would mean playing five games during the Six Nations, three away games to southern hemisphere opposition in the summer and three home games to the other three southern hemisphere teams in the autumn.

The top two teams in each conference would then play in a semi-final and final. World Rugby proposes that the competition debuts in 2022.

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Division Two will also feature 12 teams split into two conferences of six teams each, while Division Three will feature two conferences of 16 teams each, with each conference divided into four groups of four.

Watch the video below to see World Rugby's proposed structure:

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